Post #5: IP vs. OSD – Food & Agriculture

To analyze the usefulness of OSD in the food & agriculture industry, I will use the business model canvas as a framework for analysis. For each element in the business model canvas, I will analyze OSD’s ability to meet that need in comparison to IP’s ability to meet that same need.

Key Partners
OSD agriculture can obtain the same partnerships as IP agriculture. The primary partners needed for OSD agriculture are land and raw material providers, equipment providers, transportation providers, distributors, and energy providers. One additional partnership OSD would need that IP doesn’t need is the partnership with people who will develop the OSD agricultural methods. IP farming standards have been implemented for so many years and so the R&D partnerships aren’t as necessary.

Key Activities
Key activities are the same as IP agriculture: cultivating crops, distributing  crops to desired customers, and maintaining long-term farming capability and infrastructure. Perhaps one key activity included specifically for OSD farming would be constant innovation for more efficient and smarter techniques.

Key Resources
The key resources for OSD farming are identical to IP farming except for the need for intellectual resources (OSD development). The resources of raw materials, equipment, land, rain, etc. will be constant, but the defining factor of OSD farming will be its ability to be revolutionary and sustainable compared to standard techniques. An example of a good implementation is foodtank, linked below.

Value Propositions
The value proposition model for OSD agriculture is the same as typical IP agricultural systems. The primary value from agriculture comes from providing crops that can be ultimately converted into edible foods, whether in the home or restaurant kitchens. Consumers are willing to pay for this value. OSD not only matches IP’s value proposition, but also extends it to create more value because OSD provides more sustainable crops.

Customer Relationships
The customer relationships for OSD farming would be slightly different than modern day standard agriculture because  OSD farming would have a more targeted customer based. Rather than all supermarkets, OSD would target the organic, more eco-friendly market. Farmers’ markets and local venues would be more attractive for OSD farming.

Channels
The channels used by OSD would still require physical transportation of crops through trucks to desired customers. The venues through which the customers retrieve the crops of OSD farming may smaller than typical IP farming.

Cost Structure
The primary costs would be the raw materials, labor, knowledge, and equipment. Perhaps one difference in costs for OSD would be the reluctance of some people to buy the product simply because it tastes a little bit different. In class, we discussed how there is a notable difference in taste and texture between OSD crops and IP crops. This may turn some customers away. This isn’t a direct cost/expense, but I have included it in this heading because it is a detriment to the overall profit of the OSD method.

Revenue Streams
The revenue streams for OSD agriculture would be greater than typical agricultural techniques. Although the volume wouldn’t be comparable, the per unit price would be greater because OSD crop development would be more exclusive and premiere. More research is needed to make OSD the sole provider of agriculture over IP, but at some point, the United States farming industry may be able to fund itself entirely on OSD development rather than traditional methods.

Overall, OSD agriculture could become mainstream if we as a society got used to it and accepted it as we do current day IP crops. In every aspect of the business model canvas, I see potential for OSD agriculture to meet the needs of the farming business.

Sources
Open Source Ecology
Open Source Economy
Open Source Green House
FoodTank Sustainable Agriculture

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